Have you ever wondered the leather shoes you are wearing and the leather belt balancing our pants was the Mankind’s first real garments consisted of raw hides? In the beginning, it was more the question of durability than aesthetic admiration when the earliest inhabitants of this planet discovered that animal skins were more practical to wear than to eat. Leather was the oldest product that we are still using to fulfill our garment demands.
Leather was evolved as vital trade product throughout the cradle of civilization. History has claimed that the sea-faring Phoenicians permeated the colorful influence of Babylonian embroidered and adorned leatherwork to other Mediterranean countries. Also, in Egypt, numerous leather artifacts that have lasted for thousands of years were found in the tombs of Pharaohs. It is believed that it was during that particular era that people started to utilize leather for different purposes, such as making leather clothes.
A break-through was made some hundred years ago when it was discovered that oak bark was not the only plant derivative that could be used for tanning but ++rather other plants popular in North America like the bark of hemlock and chestnut trees proved their merit as equally effective. Leather production became less onerous and more affordable during the nineteenth century where there were many advances made in the leather industry. For instance, an American chemist devised a tanning method using chromium salts that took a few hours in lieu of the weeks or months needed for vegetable tanning. Additionally, machines were developed that shortened the time needed to make leather.
The outcome of developments made during 19th century and before was the evolution of Leather manufacturing companies. Today’s leather has to go through several steps of cleaning and soaking before tanning. Then, the hides are sorted, graded, and split into varying thickness by machines. The leather business is flourishing due to fashion prestige attach to it and the kind of product beauty it offers. India is penchant about leather. Purses, shoes, belts, jackets, watches and so on are made and consumed in India itself.
The leather industry in India holds a very prominent place in the Indian economy. The leather and leather products industry is one of the oldest manufacturing industries in India. Over the years the leather industry in India has undergone drastic change from being a mere exporter of raw materials in the early 60’s and 70’s to now becoming an exporter of finished leather products. The progressive policy initiatives of Indian government and with efforts of India Inc. leather Industry has flourished fourfold.
Indian leather industry with likes of shoes, purses and handbags is famous across the globe. India produces approximately 700 million pairs of leather footwear every year and accounts for an 18% share of the total Indian leather export. Leather was once a garment wear for protection and to cover the body but now it is more about prestige. Leather industry has seen ups and downs and is bound to encounter them again but leather products are always in, when it’s comes to fashion.